Tables are as useful today as they were when first made, and
are virtually second only to chairs in popularity with
collectors. During the 17th century the oak stretcher table
was the most common type of dining table, but from 1700 both
large and small tables became more varied in form. Ingenious
extending tables were made by cabinetmakers and Victorian
manufacturers quickly capitalized on many of these earlier
the classic tables designed in the 18th and early 19th
centuries have been, and are still, reproduced today. A copy
made a few decades ago that has been subjected to some wear
can mislead the inexperienced collector, so if in doubt,
compare the proportions and color with one you know to be
tables tend to be smaller and lighter, and the patina of the
wood will lack depth and richness.
Our antique table covers mainly the more popular
"American" tables, but if you have an interest in a
particular table, please feel free to contact us.
A BIT OF GENERAL ANTIQUE TABLE HISTORY
The improvement of joinery techniques during the 15th century make possible the development of "table boards" with permanent sub-frames. prior to that "tables" had consisted of boards placed on trestles.
Gradually, the cupboard space below the tabletop was reduced to a shallow frieze, with or without a drawer. In England after the restoration small oak and walnut antique tables were made in large numbers. From this time on there was a greater emphasis on the decorative aspects of the table. the 18th century saw the introduction of many tables that have a specific purpose rather than being for general use-for example, card tables, library tables, and so on.
During the 17th and 18th centuries American table design was very closely influenced by English designs, but with localized characteristics. These regional traits became less pronounced toward the end of the 18th century. Many American antique tables of the early 19th century show the influence of the French Empire furniture.
ANTIQUE SIDE TABLES
Side tables are intended to stand against room walls. The backs are not meant to be visible and are therefore left relatively unfinished and undecorated, with roughly sawn on backboards, usually with pine or oak. side tables have been made virtually throughout the whole history of furniture making and examples exist in nearly every style and wood.
Console tables, a term first used in 1730 in England, is a form of side table based on continental designs. The fine proportions and pierced shaved freeze of a William and Mary Oakes side table make it an especially desirable antique piece. Generally it has brass drop handles and balls turned and legs.
ANTIQUE CARD TABLES
The earliest type of table specifically designed for card-playing was introduced at the end of the 17th century. These early tables are veneered with walnut and usually have half round folding tops with baluster turned tapering legs united by flat stretchers.
One or both of the back legs swing out to support the top. Early in the 18th century turned legs gave way to the cabroile legs and stretchers were abolished. Except for the pedestal versions made during the Regency in Victorian periods, the basic design of the card table has remained the same ever since.